• Offered by School of Sociology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Sociology

  This interdisciplinary course will introduce students to contemporary understandings of addiction and drug and alcohol use, from a socio-cultural perspective. After examining dominant models of addiction and substance use, it focuses on drug use as a gendered practice. It addresses the question of why addiction and drug use have such prominence as medical and social problems in contemporary Western cultures and provides a range of concepts and tools for understanding their significance.

The course has a two parts:

1: Understanding Addiction

In the first part of the course, dominant models of addiction and substance dependence will be examined in detail. The focus will be on how they constitute addiction as a disorder and how this connects with notions of rationality, desire, freedom and the nature of the human body. We will investigate the continued debates about ‘what' addiction is and what these debates reveal about medical science and conceptions of health.

2: Rethinking Gender and Drugs

In the second part of the course, students will be introduced to the idea of alcohol and drug use as socio-cultural practices which occur within specific social contexts. Gender will be the central theme while the significance of  race, age and class in structuring patterns and experiences of drug use will also be explored.

This course will count as a core course in the Gender, Sexuality and Culture major and in the Health, Medicine and the Body major

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

By the end of the course students should be able to

  1. Analyse contemporary theories of addiction
  2. Analyse drug use as a gendered practice
  3. Think, write and argue about alcohol and drug use as socio-cultural practices
  4. Evaluate different social, legal and medical responses to drug use and addiction
  5. Reflect on and discuss your own learning as it relates to the subject matter of the course.

Indicative Assessment

Short papers (500 words x 3)  45%

Essay/ Project (2000 words) 35%

Tutorial attendance 5%

Tutorial facilitation  10%

In class reflective excercise 5%

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24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorials. 4-7 hours of independent study depending on assessment schedule.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 6 units of 1000 level ANU courses; or permission of the convenor

Prescribed Texts

The prescribed reading for this course will be available in a reading brick. It will include texts from the disciplines of sociology, anthropology, history, public health, social medicine and gender studies.




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $2604
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $3576
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
9407 18 Jul 2016 29 Jul 2016 31 Aug 2016 28 Oct 2016 In Person N/A

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